While flood damage in eastern Iowa already exceeds four million dollars, one expert predicts it’ll mean only minor damage to the state’s farm economy. The Mississippi River has been closed to all barge and boat traffic since early last week from Keokuk to Minneapolis. Phillip Baumel, a professor in agriculture and economics at Iowa State University, says grain elevators are in a pinch but farmers shouldn’t be radically hurt by the delay.Baumel expects some “price impacts” as processors are getting more grain than they need so they’ve cut the rates they pay farmers by a few cents. He says those prices should normalize once the river is reopened to barge traffic, which may not be for at least another week.Since it’s the planting season and grain prices are low due to low exports, he adds, farmers aren’t selling much now anyway.
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